On Tuesday, it was confirmed that model, dancer, and drag queen Antoine Ashley, who performed under the name Sahara Davenport had died. He was just 27–and his death left many stunned, heartbroken, and full of questions. Then, late last night, his family left a message on his Facebook fan page and released an official statement through NewNowNext. The cause of death was heart failure.
Here’s part of the official statement:
It is with the greatest sadness that we must confirm the death of Antoine Ashley, also known as Sahara Davenport, from the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Antoine passed away due to heart failure on October 1, 2012, at John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. He was twenty-seven years old.
Antoine’s mother, Angela Ashley Reddish, spoke on behalf of the family. “I thank God for giving me an Angel Antoine Ashley to share with the rest of the world. My family and I would like to thank everyone for their condolences and support. We know that our Angel is now dancing in heaven. May God bless each and everyone.”
Ashley, who is best known for his appearance as a contestant on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ was also a singer who had released several singles, and a classically-trained dancer. His death immediately drew raw, emotional Tweets and messages on Facebook.
Why does a 27-year-old who is athletic and, by all outward appearance, healthy die of heart disease? Without further details it’s hard to say–and speculation doesn’t do anyone any good. The fact is that an unexpected disease claimed a young life with huge potential and star power–and that’s just tragic.
Our best wishes are with the Ashley family, as well as with Ashley’s boyfriend of six years, Karl Westerberg, who performed under the name Manila Luzon.
An all-day tribute to Sahara Davenport is scheduled for tomorrow, October 5, on Logo TV.
Image via Sahara Davenport/Facebook